Interview: Stefan Aronsen, Cofounder of Balanced Breakfast

You know that feeling you get when you realize you’ve found your tribe? You have something to strive for, people who are counting on you, and a community that supports you. You realize those around you want you to succeed, but they are also happy to help you through the tough times. Does this sound like a thing for you? This is Balanced Breakfast.

We spoke with cofounder, Stefan Aronsen, about the inspiration behind Balanced Breakfast, the new app that just launched today, and its purpose. Read what he had to say below and download the app now!

Can you tell us a bit about Balanced Breakfast?

Balanced Breakfast started as people who are passionate about the music industry meeting together in the morning for a meal. During our 2 hours together we introduced ourselves, then discussed our goals within the local music scene. We started a small table in the Mission neighborhood of San Francisco. The group started small but grew rather quickly and we suddenly had the need for a group in Oakland, then San Jose, eventually groups formed in various cities outside of the Bay Area. What could have stayed 7 friends in small incubator quickly became a movement that people wanted in their cities as well.

How did you come up with the idea?

Everything about BB has been inspired by the passionate people that have come together over the years to create our supportive environment. The concept, the name, and the expansion have all been a direct result of our group discussions and the people involved. When BB started Andy Freeman and I discussed creating a label, doing licensing, or maybe managing bands. I’m normally the one to chase wild ideas, but this time I asked if he would be in to meeting again and inviting friends. Little did we know then that 2 people would become 7 and soon we’d be in 22 cities and have multiple thousands involved. BB wouldn’t be a thing if our OG members didn’t embrace it. Our members are responsible for our success. I came up with the idea to invite friends to join us for breakfast, but can’t take credit for our growth.

If I can take a second to give shout outs to the successful growth of BB I would say it’s due to people like Brian Bergeron who started BB in Oakland and Piper Payne who continued it after him. I’m super thankful for Barb Wahli for taking the group to San Jose, it made our growth official. The group might not have made it out of California if not for Angela Mastrogiacomo who helped us launch in Toronto, Boston, and Nashville. I am also thankful for Barb Leung who launched BB in LA and connected us to San Diego, Temecula and Denver. More recently I owe a great deal to Levi Winkler who has taken on BB’s operations and has helped make the new BB app possible. I can’t list all of our BB leaders or members, but I want to.

My point is that this movement is due in great part to all of the people involved. Thank you to all of the OG members, leaders, and people who have been involved over the years. Big props to Jared Swanson, Travis Hayes, Andy Strong, Cade Moore, Ted Maider, AJ McKinley, Chelsea Tinaturner Nobbs, Cliff Tune, Kanoa Blodgett, Neck of The Woods, Rob Ready, PianoFight, Peter Jacobsen, Music City SF, Barb Blank, Jonray Higginbotham, Serafino Barto, Josh Windmiller, Mindi Levine, Carmen Caruso, Jan Thompson, Reed Cameron Fox, Omar Peña, Aliza Hava, M Florentino Buenaventura, Jahna Eichel, Fred Hausman III, Steve Phelps, Kit Russell, Joe Markert, Genevieve Primavera, Kat Ellis, Philana Goodrich, Mona Khalifa Magno, Dan Ryan, Suzanne Yada, Caitlin Mae, Stephen Munoz, Adam Vara, Dale Edward Chung, Dyniss R Rainer, Eric Barfield, Robert S. Austin, Jason Eichel, Brent Curriden, Chelsea Cressman, McKendra McKendra, Lyle Burns, Maria Gironas, David Earl, Ryan VanDrie and Tim Corbin for all your support. Also thank you to anybody I forgot to mention.

What was its purpose?

Our purpose is simple. We want to create community in the music industry. We do so by meeting in real life for breakfast in the morning. We used to joke that we met at 8AM because that meant we were serious. In the past year with our growth we’ve found that each city is different and while everybody craves community, each city does it a little different. We now have groups that meet at all hours of the day. However, no matter what time we meet, the goal is the same. We strive to create lasting relationships in the music industry. We do so by meeting on a regular basis and teaching people how to be more professional in their career.

What did you hope to achieve?

The goal of our meetings has been to help people understand the music industry better. However, the indirect result of that has been deep supportive friendships. We talk about social media, email marketing, touring, licensing, and other business topics. What we didn’t plan for was the result of meeting on a regular basis. I’ve heard so many success stories of people finding new band mates, best friends, housemates and a purpose in the scene. Whether it be through the meeting or via our new app, I want these real life stories to be our goal and measure of success.

Now as an extension of the in-person meetups, the Balanced Breakfast app has launched today! What will the app do and how is it different or similar to the networking events that have already been occurring?

Meeting for a meal and talking about our lives, goals, and plans for the future, has always spurred exciting new ideas for the group. BB met for 3 years before I took a break from doing design for others and focused more time on creating Balanced Breakfast’s first product. I tried to make the first version of the app accomplish a lot of the things we tried to solve in the meetings. The idea of BB membership and a database of people in our local music scene was tabled many times. People were calling themselves BB members before we ever had a way to keep track of members or clarify what being a member meant. With the introduction of the BB app, we now have the tool to find people in our scene based on location, profession and skills. The app is the beginning of clarifying what it means to be a member of BB.

What are some perks of using the app?

The app is a reminder that you’re not alone. When you open the app you are instantly reminded that you are surrounded by people, that like you, are trying to find success in the music industry. We hope that some of the perks of the app are an increase in connections, perhaps you’ll foster new friendships and users will discover people they want to do business with.

Why should people sign up?

What have you got to lose?

Anything else you would like to add?

We have meetings in 22 cities. We might not be in your city yet, but we’d like to be. Please reach out to us. Perhaps together we can brainstorm some ideas and establish a BB meeting in your city. Our success is directly connected to your involvement … so let’s become friends and perhaps we’ll want to do business together.

Get the Balanced Breakfast app:
iTunes | Android

App preview:

What is Balanced Breakfast?


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